#1 — January 2024
This is the first clipping from my digital garden. I’m still thinking through what I want these to be, but my rough idea is an email newsletter that I send every month or two (ish) with a selection of stuff I’ve written since the last clipping. I planted a note riffing on what I want clippings to be, and I’m also writing about my custom email setup using Val Town, if you’re curious.
There are relatively few of you subscribed, so thanks for being an early reader! Please do reply if you feel like it to lmk what you think.
Planting my digital garden
This clipping will be a bit longer than most because I’m rounding up January 2024 and also looking back on what I planted in 2023.
In the fall I redesigned my personal website as a digital garden. I cover this on my about page, so I’ll save words here. To learn about digital gardening generally, you can skip right to Maggie Appleton’s wonderful essay on the ethos and history of digital gardens.
I wrote about all sorts of stuff last year. Most of it relates to the Web in some way, but there are some bits about effective learning and career ambitions mixed in. It’s the first time I’ve consistently written in public, which feels good. I still write plenty for myself—the ratio of private to public writing I do is probably like 4 to 1. Here are some of my personal favorites from 2023:
- Edison bulb night mode. My coworker Danny linked this in a post on Hacker News, which generated some helpful feedback and sent me over the Vercel analytics free tier (feeding my vanity, ofc)
- Silly TLDs. This is a short, fun one. It’s the thing I’ve written that friends outside of tech seem most interested in / leads to the most fun conversations
- My next, next, next job. I initially wrote this as a private thought exercise then published it after a nudge from some friends who I’d shared it with
- Weeks of your life. I built weeksofyour.life—an interactive visualization of your life in weeks—during a couple free days over the holidays. I posted it on Show HN, which spurred some heady philosophical discussions about the meaning of life and also handy tips around performance (and again—vanity food)
- Downloading a 30MB map in the woods. This was my first stab at a format I came up with called "Brainstorms" where I scribble down a thought stream of questions on a topic I’m curious about (sans Internet), then return later to research
- Add search to your Next.js static site with Pagefind. This project was type 2 fun, and I’m really glad I stuck with it. The Pagefind creator added my show ’n tell to the Pagefind docs, which felt good
- Think small. Of all the things I’ve written, this is what pops into my head most day to day, probably because it’s so widely applicable
(Here’s where a typical clipping would start.)
There are six hours left in January as I’m writing this, which leaves enough time to finish writing, cook dinner, watch an episode of Chopped, read, and sleep.
So far this year I’ve planted at least one essay, brainstorm, note, TIL, show ’n tell, and now clipping. That wasn’t intentional, and I expect my pace of writing to vary quite a bit throughout the year. Here’s a sampling from January:
- I finished reading The Art of Doing Science and Engineering by Richard Hamming and wrote about it
- I also read and wrote about Hackers & Painters by Paul Graham
- I learned about blogrolls and added mine
- I also planted an art page and a tour of my garden
- I planted a brainstorm about how you’d build a terminal in the browser but haven’t finished the research yet to answer my questions
- I wrote about my Anki habit, six months in
- I’m still working on my email-course creation tool and the POC first course on the science of learning. I’m writing about it, and you can sign up for a very incomplete version of the course if you want to get a feel for the structure
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